Monday, October 21, 2013

Square One

We never know when we’re there unless we go back to it, as if life were a board game. And when we say we’re back to square one we really aren’t. You cannot enter the same river twice.  Was it Yogi Berra or Heraclitus who said that? You are not the same person nor is the river with the same waters.

So now Peggy is back at Berkley East Convalescent Hospital where she recently made her summer home. (Seems like just a few years ago we had fantasized summering in the Cotswolds). Same facility, same staff but her hip has healed and we are now dealing with a compression fracture of her T-12 vertebra.

Going back to square one may be some people’s idea of immortality, a wish to keep starting all over again until they get it right. Not an altogether bad idea considering the alternative. An instant replay of the whole damn thing!  In that case I’d need to crawl into my time machine. Where are my ski pajamas? Isn’t that what space travelers wear? Woody Allen says he doesn’t believe in an after-life, but just in case he’s bringing an extra pair of underwear.

I remember, in elementary school, the most egregious threat hanging over us was to be Left Back. What could be more dreaded and ignominious? On the other hand a few (not I) were skipped. Two early forms of time-travel, to be returned to square one or launched into the great beyond.

If life is cyclic rather than linear there is no turning back. The best we can do is to keep spinning with our receptors open and pass along what we live and breathe. Peggy with her nonagenarian bones and made-fresh daily, irrepressible spirit is stepping again into the stream like never before.

As we wait for the vertebra to knit I don’t dare pat her on the back. The spine is its own tree bent perhaps but still providing swift passage from head to hand and heart. On its branches birds perch, a child swings and messages are still being carved. She is still mid-life in tree-years. Ninety-two is insufficient to contain all the life Peggy has yet to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment